Mastering the Dominant Bebop Scale

Mastering The Dominant Bebop Scale
The Dominant Bebop Scale is a scale that can be used over a dominant chord. It has both the major 7th and the flat 7th in the scale so in the key of G the scale would be GABCDEFF#G. The reason that the dominant bebop scale sounds so great is that when it is started on any of the dominant chord tones (G7 would have the chord tones of G,B,D or F) the downbeats of your lines will all be chord tones.

So if you start the dominant bebop scale on a G,B,D or F  and play it stepwise in any direction the  downbeats will always be the chord tones. When you play the dominant bebop scale like this over a dominant chord it sounds great. The reason for this is  because in jazz the eighth notes are played with a long short long short long short feel. The downbeats are the longer notes. The ear has a  bit more time to hear those notes because they are held slightly longer. When you are stressing the consonant notes on the downbeats it just feels and sounds right.  The up beats are the more dissonant notes but when they resolve into the downbeats it sounds great. The more you practice the dominant bebop sound the more you will get use to the sounds of the notes and how they resolve.
Each chapter of “Mastering the Dominant Bebop Scale” is in one key. I’ve written the book so it goes around the circle of fifths and all the jazz patterns are written out for you. Although I prefer to have students learn jazz licks and patterns by ear,  having them written out can be useful if you need an idea on say a F#7 chord for a solo.  You can just go to that section of the book and pick one out that you like .  The first part of each chapter is to help you learn the dominant bebop scales and which notes it can be started on. Jamey Aebersold has a volume in his play along series that is just focused on dominant chords.  It is Volume 84 “Dominant Seventh Workout”. It would be good to practice these along with the dominant chords so that you can hear the way the notes fit with the dominant chord sound as the rhythm section plays behind you.
After the dominant bebop scales are learned ,  the next step is to add the dominant bebop links.  I suggest just adding one at a time and inserting it into the scales that you have just learned.  After each dominant bebop link I give an example of how to insert it. Many times I also provide a “Mix” which is a line that uses many of the “Bebop links” together. As you practice these it is important that you mix them together so that you build a strong and varied musical vocabulary for jazz improvisation.
A great way to practice these is to a standard 12 bar blues. Since a blues is mostly made up of dominant chords it is a great tool to use to practice these.  The last section of each chapter deals with dominant resolution links to the tonic chords.  You will find these useful while playing the Blues when going from the I7 to the IV7 or the V7 to th I7.  Once the scale is learned in all keys a good exercise is to play them on a blues and go up a half step every chorus until you play it through in all 12 keys. This can take weeks and months to master so take your time with it and have fun.
At the end of the book, I provide an example of how to play the dominant bebop scale through the blues form while improvising. I also have written out a Blues solo to demonstrate how the bebop scale and it’s links can be used for improvising over a blues form.
The dominant bebop scale can be used over any dominant chord but it can also be used on a ii-7 chord that is connected to the V7 chord. Many times in jazz you will see these two chords connected. The dominant bebop scale can be used over the entire measure and is a great sound while improvising.
I hope you enjoy studying the materials in this book.  You will find that it is filled with many musical gems that once mastered will add greatly to your jazz vocabulary while improvising.  Just click here to purchase “Mastering the Dominant Bebop Scale” as a pdf file or printed book.  You can also  hear a sound clip and see sample pages.  Have Fun.

Steve About Steve

Steve Neff has been playing and teaching saxophone and jazz improvisation around the New England area for the last 30 years. He is the author of many effective jazz improvisation methods as well as founding the popular jazz video lesson site


  1. Avatar Jim Peterson says

    Hi Steve,
    I’m a professional commercial trumpet player in Chicago. I studied with Joe Daley in the ’70s, and played in the Northern IL Univ 2 O’Clock Band with Dizzy, Frank Rosolino, Louie Bellson, etc. I’m known in town as a jazz player, though I’m hired for shows, church jobs, studio work ( not so much studio work these days I guess, unfortunately), just about anything that requires a trumpet, though I like jazz and orchestra jobs the best.
    I was on the ‘net looking for a book of II-V-I patterns. Ideally the book would have endless II-V-Is. I could write one myself and probably should, but I am afflicted with terminal laziness, and would rather buy one, at least right now.
    Do you something like that? PDF is fine, actually preferable.
    Please let me know.

    • Yes Jim, I have my “Best II-V-I Patterns”books for major II-V’s and Minor II-V’s. If you like under the Jazz Books heading on the menu you will see them. They are PDF’s. Thanks, Steve

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